In the Juventus locker room, Coach Giovanni Trappattoni looked grim and spoke little, even to the Italian reporters clustered around him. In Team America's locker room, Coach Alkis Panagoulias smoked a cigar and patted people on the back.
Even though Saturday night's exhibition soccer game at RFK Stadium ended in a 1-1 tie, the outcome meant two very different things to the coaches.
"They (Team America) played well," Trappattoni said through an interpreter. "We should have played better."
"This is a very good game for us," said Panagoulias. "We needed this game. These Juventus players have been together, either with the national team or Juventus, for many years. We are just starting, but we played very well."
It remains a mystery why Team America can play exceptional soccer and force ties with world-class teams from England (Watford), the Soviet Union (Dynamo Minsk) and Italy, yet is currently the worst team in the North American Soccer League. Against Juventus, a club which features seven stars from the 1982 World Cup, Team America held its own and had numerous opportunities to win.
"I felt this team could have beaten us," said Juventus striker Zbigniew Boniek, a member of Poland's 1978 and 1982 World Cup teams. "This game was just a 'friendly' (exhibition) for us, but it would not have been good to lose."
Juventus has three players on its roster under the age of 25, as opposed to 10 for Team America, and the Italians' experience and maturity were evident throughout the game. But Team America's strength and fitness kept it in the game long after the talent had run out.
"They (Team America) seemed like they could have run another 90 minutes," said forward Michel Platini.
Panagoulias made several tactical moves that may been the difference in the game. His decision to use defender Dan Canter to mark Juventus superstar Paolo Rossi worked to Team America's advantage, as Canter's speed and physical style quickly forced Rossi out of his game. He did not attempt a shot and was removed at halftime with a mild ankle sprain.
Panagoulias also started Andrew Parkinson in the midfield for the first time this season, and Parkinson responded by playing perhaps his best game of the year. Parkinson carried and distributed the ball well and took a team-high four shots. Team officials said afterward it was likely Parkinson would be shifted to the position next season.